Since 1999, the Kent D. and Mary L. Steadley Memorial Trust has given more than $13 million to help improve Carthage.
A $100,000 donation in 2011 to the city of Carthage allowed the city to rebuild a damaged fire truck into a tanker, improving the Carthage Fire Department’s ability to keep residents of the city and surrounding area safe without spending taxpayer’s money.
On Friday, Ralph Ochsner, with the consulting firm of Ochsner, Hare & Hare held the first of two daylong group discussions to help his company prepare a vision to guide Steadley Trust funding in the future.
About 40 city officials and council members, along with leaders in various civic groups, met in the basement of Carthage’s Memorial Hall to brainstorm about what Carthage should look like in the coming years.
Ochsner said this meeting and another one on Friday, Nov. 2., were part of a process by his firm to come up with a strategic plan to guide future funding decisions that can help the trust fulfill its mission in the next 10, 20 or 30 years.
“What I’ve said from the beginning is that the process that I’m running hopefully will generate ideas if what Carthage thinks it should do,” Ochsner said on Friday. “Some of those might be funded by the Steadley Trust, others would not be subject to trust funding but it might still be something that the community might want to figure out how to do on their own.”
Ochsner said the Steadley Trust has contributed to a variety of Carthage groups and interests for the past 30 years.
“I’ve gone back to 1999 and since 1999, they’ve contributed over $13 million to Carthage,” Ochsner said. “The main recipients have been the city of Carthage itself, the school district, the library and the hospital, but all told, there have been 45 different entities that have received some level of funding.”
Some of the projects in Carthage that have benefited from Steadley Trust money include the Carthage Municipal Golf Course, Fair Acres Family YMCA, the Fair Acres Sports Complex, school district facilities, expansion of the Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital, recreational facilities, historic preservation, arts, literature, animal welfare and many human services and civic organizations.
“I think it’s highly unusual to have something like the Steadley Trust,” Ochsner said. “Some other cities, obviously like Kansas City, with the large foundations, have something similar, but it’s unusual for a city the size of Carthage.”
The group will come together again on Nov. 2 to help Ochsner prepare his final report for the Steadley trustees.